Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Walker is one of the newest robots from UBTECH Robotics. Below is just a few of the features and technologies used in its development. 1.Flexible walking on complex terrain: With gait planning and control, Walker can achieve stable walking on different surfaces including carpet, floor, marble, and more.
Walker is your agile smart companion—an intelligent, bipedal humanoid robot that aims to one day be an indispensable part of your family. Standing 4.75 feet (1.45 m) tall and weighing 170 lbs (77 kg), the new version of Walker is more advanced than ever, including arms and hands with the ability to grasp and manipulate objects, a refined torso with improved self-balancing, smooth and stable walking in difficult environments, and multi-modal interaction including voice, vision, and touch. Walker has 36 high-performance actuators and a full range of sensing systems that work together to insure smooth and fast walking.”There are a few things to keep in mind here. Walker seems to walk fairly well on a smooth surface free of obstacles, and doesn’t fall over, but that may or may not be a reasonable representation of how Walker would perform in an environment that is even slightly different. The piano playing is decent, but the fingers don’t appear to be actively actuated, at least in that version of the robot. I do like the box tracking and handoff, and it’s nice that Walker can sense and react to external forces, though I’m not sure we could say it is completely safe for human-robot interaction. It’s also worth pointing out that the push recovery, at this point, is very much best-case scenario: Walker is being pushed from the side while its near foot is planted; if pushed from the front or from behind while stationary, it may not fare so well.

I’m certainly excited to see what Walker becomes capable of as UBTECH continues its development, and it’s great that a consumer robotics company is investing in a humanoid like this. As we well know, building bipedal humanoids that can do useful things is very, very hard, and Walker is impressive even in its current state. Still, it’s important to be clear about what the capabilities and limitations of the robot actually are, especially when UBTECH suggests the robot “has the intelligence and capabilities to make a helpful impact in any home or business in the very near future,” and that it will “one day be an indispensable part of your family.”